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Monday, December 13, 2010

Saeb Erekat's lies in CiF

Saeb Erekat, that Palestinian Arab negotiator who the West feels is so moderate because he wears suits and not army fatigues, has once again called for the destruction of Israel - this time in the pages of the Guardian's Comment is Free column.

He couches his demand to the end of the Jewish state in terms of the specious arguments that descendants of Palestinian Arabs who fled in 1948 have a "right to return" to the homes of their ancestors.

Here are some of his lies:
Israel's own admission as a member to the United Nations was contingent on its adherence to the principles of UNGA 194, something it proceeded to disregard once membership was granted.
While the resolution granting Israel's membership in the UN mentions UNGA 194, in no way does it say that it is contingent on it:
Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions,
The General Assembly,
Acting in discharge of its functions under Article 4 of the Charter and rule 125 of its rules of procedure,
1. Decides that Israel is a peace loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations;
2. Decides to admit Israel to membership in the United Nations.
While I cannot find the specific "declarations and explanations" noted at the moment, Israel's interpretation of 194 at the time was clear - no "return" of Arab refugees could be contemplated until there was a comprehensive peace and until the Arabs who return were willing to "live at peace with their neighbours", a UNGA 194 condition that was never met. The idea that Israel's admittance was somehow conditional is clearly a blatant lie.

The lies continue. Erekat says that "Palestinian refugees [are] the oldest and largest refugee community in the world today." The fact is that the vast majority are not refugees, but descendants of refugees, and that designation was created for them by UNRWA for practical reasons as a working definition but not as a legal definition. If they are legal refugees, then so are hundreds of millions of other people.

The lies continue:
The fact that Israel bears responsibility for the creation of the refugees is beyond argument. Even if the state still claims amnesia for its deeds, Israeli historians have debunked the traditional Zionist mythology and shown how Zionist leaders prior to 1948 formulated plans to displace the indigenous Palestinian population in order to create a Jewish majority state.
While there is a tiny amount of truth to this - plans are created for a lot of situations - there was no actual implementation of any such plans. The vast majority of Palestinian Arabs fled out of fear, not from force; their leaders fled early quite voluntarily leaving the masses without any anchor in the land. They fled because they thought that their Arab neighbors would allow them to resettle or stay until the Jews would be destroyed, but their fleeing showed that their attachment to the land was far more tenuous than the Jews who had no choice but to stay and fight, or die.

The lies continue:
Resolution 194 must provide the basis for a settlement to the refugee issue.
Resolution 194 was a General Assembly resolution, not legally binding. It also required that the Jerusalem area be under UN control - something ignored by Arabs. It does not specify only Arab refugees - in its language, Jews should have been allowed to return to their homes in the Old City and Gush Etzion and elsewhere - a provision rejected by Arabs even today. The entire resolution has no legal validity whatsoever in any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, as Israel argued in 1999:
The letters of invitation to the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991 and the Oslo Agreements signed between Israel and the PLO expressly provide that permanent status negotiations are to be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). No other United Nations resolution is cited. The Palestinians have thus affirmed that a permanent solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be achieved by a negotiated settlement in West Bank and Gaza Strip territory that is the subject of those Security Council resolutions.
Other provisions of UNGA 194 were roundly ignored by the Arabs as well, such as free access to holy places. It is the Arab actions no less than anyone else that made 194 irrelevant.

Erekat's final lie is that masses of so-called refugees flooding Israel "will lead to a lasting peace." On the contrary, it would lead to the kind of internal terrorism that Palestine suffered before Israel was established, where thousands of people were slaughtered while Jews were a minority.

The entire issue is a ruse meant to destroy the Jewish state, and when the most "moderate" Palestinian Arab leaders are still publicly calling to dismantle Israel by demographic means, it shows that their stated desire for a two-state solution with both states living side by side in peace is an utter sham.

This article also proves that Palestinian Arab rejectionism is not merely a tactical move to improve their negotiating position, but an absolute rejection of Israel as anything other than yet another Arab state. This is the mainstream position of so-called "moderate" Palestinian Arabs, not a fringe extremist position. If the West is serious about a real peace - something that seems literally impossible given such intransigence - it needs to insist that Palestinian Arab leaders admit, publicly, that Israel is not where descendants of Palestinian Arabs who fled in 1948 will live and that they need to be absorbed in Arab countries instead of being the victims of institutional discrimination in every single Arab country as they are today.

That is the issue that Erekat and his ilk studiously avoid mentioning, and it proves beyond all doubt that they do not give a damn about their people but rather want to continue using them as pawns in their six-decade old, single-minded goal of destroying Israel.